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Thread: [Publisher] McFarland & Company, Inc.

  1. #1
    Been a long time... OneTeam OneDream's Avatar
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    [Publisher] McFarland & Company, Inc.

    Does anyone have anything good or bad to say about McFarland Publishing out of North Carolina?

  2. #2
    Been a long time... OneTeam OneDream's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneTeamOneDream
    Does anyone have anything good or bad to say about McFarland Publishing out of North Carolina?


    Nevermind, upon looking at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble and seeing that both source are offering over 3,000 titles published by them, I think I'm okay.

  3. #3
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Sheer numbers of books listed on Amazon don't mean much. Some notorious vanity presses have tons of books listed there.

    What you should ask about any publisher:

    What are the books? What are their prices? What are their sales ranks? Have you ever heard of any of the books? Ever heard of any of the authors? Do they distribute to bookstores and libraries?

    Now as it happens, McFarland is a good publisher of serious non-fiction reference works for the library trade. If that's what you're writing, go you!

  4. #4
    Been a long time... OneTeam OneDream's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    Sheer numbers of books listed on Amazon don't mean much. Some notorious vanity presses have tons of books listed there.

    What you should ask about any publisher:

    What are the books? What are their prices? What are their sales ranks? Have you ever heard of any of the books? Ever heard of any of the authors? Do they distribute to bookstores and libraries?

    Now as it happens, McFarland is a good publisher of serious non-fiction reference works for the library trade. If that's what you're writing, go you!

    No it is a baseball book, which they are very big into as well, but thank you James for the help!

  5. #5
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneTeamOneDream
    No it is a baseball book, which they are very big into as well, but thank you James for the help!
    They're big in baseball, chess, TV, movies, and military history, with a good representation in other areas. I take it you aren't writing a baseball novel.

  6. #6
    Been a long time... OneTeam OneDream's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    They're big in baseball, chess, TV, movies, and military history, with a good representation in other areas. I take it you aren't writing a baseball novel.


    Baseball non-fiction.

  7. #7
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    They're aiming at the library market, not the bookstore market.

    For signings, the bookstore should order 'em, and should return the ones that don't sell. You show up with a pen and a smile.

    You may want to send out your own local press releases where the stores are located, though, to make sure that doesn't fall through the cracks.

  8. #8
    Been a long time... OneTeam OneDream's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    They're aiming at the library market, not the bookstore market.

    For signings, the bookstore should order 'em, and should return the ones that don't sell. You show up with a pen and a smile.

    You may want to send out your own local press releases where the stores are located, though, to make sure that doesn't fall through the cracks.


    I knew James would come to my rescue! Thanks!!

    Remember, I'm just a guy with a computer and a story, I've got ideas how to market it, but I don't know exactly how everything works in the book world. Thanks again!

  9. #9
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Talk to your editor at McFarland and with their publicity guy.

  10. #10
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    This thread at Writers.net may also be relevant:

    http://www.writers.net/forum/read/1/22535/22535

  11. #11
    13th Triskaidekaphobe Richard's Avatar
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    Must be a good marketing plan if it can swallow a book with double the price tag of competing titles...

  12. #12
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Specialty non-fiction and reference works usually have short press runs.

  13. #13
    Been a long time... OneTeam OneDream's Avatar
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    Last edited by OneTeam OneDream; 10-10-2008 at 06:48 AM.

  14. #14
    Been a long time... OneTeam OneDream's Avatar
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    James, you have been the expert on this.


    I have been talking to the guy from Writersnet that you posted the link from, and he seemed to be under the impression that McFarland doesn't take returns, making it impossible (almost) to get into brick and mortars, have you ever heard this?

  15. #15
    Sockpuppet Literary Lola's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneTeamOneDream
    James, you have been the expert on this.


    I have been talking to the guy from Writersnet that you posted the link from, and he seemed to be under the impression that McFarland doesn't take returns, making it impossible (almost) to get into brick and mortars, have you ever heard this?
    McFarland books appear to be returnable. That's good because at $32 for a 160 page paperback, I'm betting they'd be returned.

  16. #16
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Literary Lola
    McFarland books appear to be returnable. That's good because at $32 for a 160 page paperback, I'm betting they'd be returned.
    Well, yes -- if they went to general-interest bookstores. The market for McFarland books seems to be libraries and specialty stores.

    Prices for reference books can scare you.

    I wrote a non-fiction (under one of my pseudonyms) a few years back. It's library binding only, 48 pages, $25.25. Do I care? Nope. Their check cleared. I'm on to other projects, they're doing whatever it is they do with such things.

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    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Anything new on McFarland & Co.?

    Does anyone have any updates to share on McFarland & Co. out of North Carolina? I found this thread from 2005, but nothing since then.

    I already checked them out on Pred/Ed and they're fine... just wondering if there are any new tales from the trenches. They are currently reviewing my non-fic proposal after responding favorably to my query.

    Thanks in advance!

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    They are a legitimate publisher, but do not pay advances. I know this because I spoke with them on recommendation from someone who works at their NY branch. You are unlikely to generate as much revenue as you would with a publisher that pays advances and sells to big-box bookstores. Unless you're looking to get your book in libraries only, best approach is to find a good agent.

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks... that's too bad about the advance. I'm so far querying publishers at a 2-to-1 ratio to agents because I was told by one such agent (at a conference I attended this summer) that my topic was more likely to be picked up by a mid-range publisher, and therefore not as appealing to agents.

    Is the "no advance" thing commonplace with publishers like McFarland?

  21. #21
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    Don't personally know about other publishers. In general, if they don't sell to the biggest book sellers (Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc.), they can't expect to sell lots of books. So they can't justify paying out money up front. You would only receive royalties based on copies sold.

    Would suggest writing great query letter, contacting numerous agents who specialize in your genre. If other agents echo the 'mid-range' expectation, then querying such publishers might be the best course.

  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks again, Oldschool, for your input. Anyone else...?

  23. #23
    The publisher has a sample contract online: http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/pdfs/Contract.pdf
    Quote Originally Posted by Orchestra View Post
    But seriously, never ask permission to write something. Don't be a wimp.

  24. #24
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I deal with McFarland often through my job (sabr.org), and they are a class act with an impeccable reputation. Yes, their main market is libraries, so if you're looking for major distribution, they may not be your bag. At the same time, non-fiction baseball books don't often become huge bestsellers. Their books are often pricey too ($35-$40 range for trade-sized paperback). If you wish, I can check with a colleague or two about their advances (if they exist).

  25. #25
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    McFarland vs Scarecrow Press

    Dear All,

    I am collecting and editing a collection of essays concerning the DC character Lois Lane. It will be an academic collection and I would be glad for a couple of pointers concerning publishers. A couple have send me contracts and I have narrowed it down to McFarland and Scarecrow Press.

    Any ideas? Experiences?

    Thank you

    Phoebe

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